THE Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire has marked the national Day of Memory, remembering those who have lost their lives to honour-based violence.

Honour based violence/abuse is a collection of practices used to control behaviour within families in order to protect perceived cultural and religious beliefs and/or honour.

The Day of Memory was inspired by Shafilea Ahmed, who was murdered by her parents in 2003 following years of abuse as a result of her becoming 'too westernised'.

John Dwyer, PCC for Cheshire, encouraged anyone experiencing abuse to speak out.

"It is estimated that there are 12 honour killings each year in the UK, although the exact number is unknown," said the PCC.

"No victim of crime should feel like they're alone.

"So today, on what would have been Shafilea's 35th birthday, I want to encourage anyone who is experiencing abuse to speak out.

"There are support networks available to help victims and survivors, but if there is an immediate risk to life then 999 should be people's first port of call.

"No-one should fear living their life how they want to, and be denied the freedoms that many of us take for granted.

"Honour based violence is often referred to as a hidden crime, and if you feel that someone you know might be at risk, please report it.

"I am committed to working with the chief constable to ensure we will continue to have a police service that is there to protect and serve everyone, especially those who are at risk of harm."

Violence can occur when perpetrators perceive that a relative has shamed the family and/or community by breaking their honour code.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, founder of Karma Nirvana, added: "In almost 25 years of campaigning I have rarely heard from families or communities speaking out against the horror of honour killings, so who remembers the victims.

"Each year on July 14 we do.

"We celebrate victim's lives and remember them as the most honourable of beings."

A full list of agencies who can provide support to victims of crime and survivors can be found at